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Searching for New Physics Across the Spectra

Masha Baryakhtar, NYU
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Theories beyond the Standard Model of particle physics often predict new, light, feebly interacting particles whose discovery requires novel search strategies. A light particle, the QCD axion, elegantly solves the outstanding strong-CP problem of the Standard Model; cousins of the QCD axion can also appear, and are natural dark matter candidates. First, I will discuss my experimental proposal based on thin films, in which dark matter can efficiently convert to detectable single photons. A prototype experiment is underway, and current techniques promise to reach significant new dark matter parameter space. Second, I will show how rotating black holes turn into axionic and gravitational wave beacons, creating nature's laboratories for ultralight bosons. When an axion's Compton wavelength is comparable to a black hole size, energy and angular momentum from the black hole source exponentially-growing bound states of particles, forming `gravitational atoms'. These `gravitational atoms' emit monochromatic gravitational wave signals, enabling gravitational wave observatories to discover ultralight axions. If the axions interact with one another, instead of gravitational waves, black holes populate the universe with axion waves.

Dr.  Baryakhtar is a particle theorist/astrophysicist, with a 2015 PhD, presently a James Arthur postdoctoral fellow at NYU. Her interests span LHC phenomenology, low-energy searches for dark matter, and novel astrophysical  signals for new particles, including on black hole superradiance.

Panopto link.

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